REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew MacKenzie downplays his role in a ceremony in Montgomery to honor this nation's prisoners of war and missing in action.
"This was a big group effort," said MacKenzie, assistant product manager for field artillery launchers in the Precision Fires Rocket and Missile Systems Project Office, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space.
He and his organization, the Vietnam Vets/Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club, conducted the motorcycle honor guard for the POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony held Sept. 20 at the state capitol. The procession of motorcycles led to the Capitol where the ceremony was conducted. They set up a missing man remembrance table and participated in the script reading. They also set up a bamboo cage, with one of their members inside to represent Vietnam POWs.
Dignitaries at the state-sponsored ceremony included guest speaker Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, commander of the Security Assistance Command.
The motorcycle club's chapters throughout Alabama were involved in this event. MacKenzie is the POW/MIA mission representative for the North Alabama Chapter.
"The main mission of our organization is to provide accountability for the POWs/MIAs and ensure we have no more members of the military left behind," MacKenzie, 36, who has 17 years of military service, said. "We want to do everything within our powers to bring our POW/MIA brothers home and to insist that our government demands accountability for each and every one of those patriots."
The Lindenhurst, New York, native estimated 300 people attended the third annual ceremony which is held every third Saturday in September in Montgomery.
"It was a very moving event," MacKenzie said. "We had a keynote speaker (Seymour Lichtenfeld) who was a former World War II prisoner of war. And to hear his take and his views and his continuing efforts toward the POW/MIA mission, it was humbling and very moving."